SAN ANTONIO — If this softball season goes anything as expected, we could be looking at a repeat of last season when St. Mary’s and St. Edward’s went toe-to-toe for the Heartland Conference title.
And it will be the Rattlers who go in as the favorites, topping the league’s preseason poll that was voted on by the conference’s head coaches and sports information directors. St. Mary’s took eight first-place votes and 68 total points, edging out St. Edward’s, who received four first-place votes and 64 points.
It was a similar story last spring, when the Rattlers overtook the Hilltoppers for the regular-season conference title with a 13-2 record in league play.
Having lost only one starter to graduation, this year’s team returns a bulk of talent and experience, starting with two-time Heartland Conference Pitcher of the Year Emily Brittain (Jr., Corpus Christi, Texas).
St. Mary’s has won either the Heartland’s regular-season or potseason title 11 of the last 12 years under iconic head coach Donna Fields, who enters her 16th season piloting the program.
The Rattlers will open up the season in the St. Mary’s College Softball Classic, held Feb. 1-3 at the SAISD Sports Complex.
St. Mary’s University, as a Catholic Marianist University, fosters the formation of people in faith and educates leaders for the common good through community service, integrated liberal arts and professional education, and academic excellence. The University has six athletic national titles: men’s basketball (1989–NAIA), baseball (2001–NCAA Div. II), softball (1986–NAIA and 2002–NCAA Div. II) and an individual national champion in men’s golf (2006–NCAA Div. II) and a national academic championship in men’s golf (2009–NCAA Div. II). St. Mary’s also had more than 40 percent of its athletes named to conference, regional and/or national honor rolls this past year. St. Mary’s student–athletes graduation rate is 65 percent, higher than the NCAA Division II average of 55 percent. To learn more about St. Mary's, visit www.stmarytx.edu/athletics.